How to Sell Your Beer Cans
Prepare Your Cans for Photos
- Clean your cans by wiping them off gently with a damp clothe. Do not use cleaners of any kind! They can damage the finish and paint of older cans.
- Organize your cans by sorting them into common groups (flat tops, cone tops, pull tabs, 12 oz., 16 oz., etc.). Put them gently into boxes without scratching the cans, no collector likes to hear you have "a few bags of cans", because bags equal scratches that will make the cans worth less.
- Count your cans and make a general list. You may need to e-mail or snail mail the list to interested collectors.
- Take group and individual photos of the cans you think are the most valuable. Using fluorescent or natural (daytime) lighting is best to capture the true colors of any can. If you must use a flash be sure to stand at at least 4 feet away and shoot the can(s) on an angle to avoid flashback. If you do not have a digital camera be ready to describe the cans in detail.
Decide How You Would Like to Sell Your Beer Cans
- Do you want to sell your beer cans individually or as a collection? Better cans should be sold individually to maximize their value. Duplicate cans should be disclosed so the buyer knows how many were found. Be sure the area the cans were found is checked thoroughly for other cans.
- Do they need to be sold quickly? Being patient will most likely lead to finding the best buyer. However, you may run the risk of other similar cans flooding the market and lowering the value of your can(s). The specialized market can only absorb so many cans at any given time. Expert collectors and beer can dealers know the market very well. You may want to seek some advice from a beer can expert before making your decision.
- Will the buyer need to travel to you or will the can(s) be shipped? Some deals can be made without a personal inspection. Most buyers will prefer to travel to you to examine the cans. If you deal with someone local it may make the process easier. If the cans do need to be shipped you will have to make the arrangements to pack and ship them. The first can will cost approx. $5.00 to ship via Priority Mail, other cans will cost approx. $1.00 /per can to ship. Don't forget about postal insurance and always ask for Delivery Confirmation.
Where Can I sell My Beer Cans?
- Private Collector - the heart and soul of this hobby is each and every collector. There's one near you and chances are he collects cans from local breweries. Do you have cans from your state or region? There's a collector waiting for them.
- Beer Can Dealer - maybe the only person who will have the finances to make a large purchase. They are very knowledgable but will need to make a profit from your cans.
- Internet Auction - if you know how to sell on eBay this may be a good option.
- Internet Classified - there are some websites that are good venues for selling cans. You can try Craig's List for common beer cans or large collections.
- Garage Sale / Flea Market - if you have common or recent cans this may be your only option.
- Antique Shop - maybe your local shop has interest in your cans. This probably isn't a good option If you think your cans are rare.
- Sell to Me - How can you resist this option? I couldn't resist listing it.
e-Mail me any time
What Selling Option is the Best?
- If you have a rare beer can you will want to deal with a reputable beer can collector or dealer. They are the only experts in this hobby. They write the books, they plan & attend the shows and they are the ones who drive the prices. Without collectors and dealers there is no market for your cans. Try one before you try anywhere else. They may save you a lot of time and surprise you with their generous offer.
- Large collections will almost always have to be sold locally. You may want to take a few cans to a local beer show and see if there is any interest.
Otherwise Craig's List is a local forum that is monitored by novice to expert collectors.
- Single cans may do well in the ebay beer can category. Be sure a similar can isn't being listed at the same time. Also remember to take good pictures and be available to answer e-mails during the auction. The final auction price can fluctuate greatlky for identical cans, so don't put your only can on there if you aren't a gambler.
- Consigning your can(s) to a dealer or collector can usually be done for a 20% to 30% commission. It may take a while to complete the transaction, but you usually will end up with a very nice return on quality cans while someone else does the work. Any good dealer or collector will more than pay for the commission they charge by insuring you receive top dollar for your can(s).